I actually have a lot to say but I’ll start with this as I am new here So, I’ve been learning programming since 2015 (w/ game development in Unity) and never thought of stopping until I stepped in college (and adulthood if you can consider that). I really want to be a game developer, I really really do. Got some small games made, even participated in a game jam for it! But thinking that after college I would need to get a job, I’m really confused upon what to do anymore. I figured that I would need to go study software development since it’s the only jobs here near my place but there’s this ‘feeling’ that I don’t really wanna do it and just continue game development. But the thing about my game development experience is, I feel like I’m still lacking a whole lot. It sucks really. I need a couple of advice to know what I can do. I know I might have a similar question here but why not give it a shot.
if you want to do game development but you feel you are lacking… have you ever thought about a computer science course online? that would still keep you on the same path but give you a deeper understanding of things
there is even a “Professional Certificate in Computer Science for Game Development” from Harvard!
(you can see which courses are inside the certificate, and you can do the courses for free - you need to pay only if you want the verified certificate to add to your portfolio, learning is free)
From a gamer to the next. :3
I started studying game development at a very young age and study in college about it a decade ago. I did it because I really like video games, even went to video game development school to learn about art, programming, music, production, etc. After completing the program I am left with more question than ability to build a game.
Luckily, I honed onto one particular skill which is 3D graphics, that’s basically the only thing I was good at during school, not that I was actually good, but because it was new and I was able to grasp it very quickly. After graduation I was lucky to have freelance work and be part of the industry doing 3D graphics.
After a year, the industry has caught up and my incompetence caught up to me, since I didn’t have traditional 2D graphic background. I wasn’t able to progress in my career against people who is simply “JUST TOO GOOD”. I wasn’t able to do digital graphics, wasn’t able to do concept art, wasn’t able to create compelling characters because I am really bad at drawing. So I am stuck in a position where I finally realize how little I knew and it would be years to grind up a skill that I don’t like doing.
I eventually stop doing graphics and went explore other subjects in total confusion what I want. I do know that I want to have a business someday. So I study things like programming, web design, finance, stock market, real estates, business, sales, YouTube, marketing, and a bunch of other things that lead me nowhere.
11 years down the road, the fog just started to clear in my mind. I consolidated everything I learned and construct a path for myself. Programming is the way for me because the concept comes easy and I am able to envision the next industrial trend. Now I am working towards building up coding knowledge and I am off to building a tech business.
Bottom line is, you won’t find what you like until you do it and you won’t ever feel like you know enough. You’ll need to do it enough to find out what you are good at, what you are bad at, and what your ultimate goals are.
If you really don’t get the feel for something, you can always switch. Do this while you’re young and figure things out before you reach 30.
By the way, do you have the games that you built?
I am building games as well… Looking forward to building VR.
Message me if you are interested in that.
Oh yes! I’ve seen the Harvard courses (and currently taking the intro to cs one). Never saw this but might give it a try. Sadly, I might not have the funds to pay for the certificate though. I was planning to get a Unity-specific course at Udemy but couldn’t get the job done with the payments sort of stuff. Well, I feel like I lack in so many areas of programming, specifically the style of my code. Like for instance, I’m still trying to know how I’ll apply OOP in Unity or should I not do it or so.
Honestly worried if I would go for desktop applications. In my place, there’s only a few companies who offers game dev jobs and I might not get anything if I continue learning it without looking at desktop apps.
Looking at what I can do with my game dev experience, I am what you can call the ‘jack of all trades’. It’s like all of the skills I know are in an equal state (well, except for creating music. i suck at it much).
Well, I have a game posted on itch,io that I made in a one week game jam. I have the other one on gamejolt that is like a Pong clone. I haven’t posted others since I’ve deleted them already.
I might give it a go tho
As I said the learning is free, so you can still do the course!
If you really want to get the certificate you could apply for financial assistance, which will give a discount for getting the certificate
First of all the only pressure your feeling is the pressure of making a choice with what your going to do. Its a real pressure that probably stems from real circumstances (gotta pay for stuff, get a job, etc). Its worth bringing up because there are other “pressures” I’ll touch upon.
I was like you, I went to college with a CS degree for the specific idea that I’d go out and build games or something. I eventually went away from that as I eventually came to realize I suck at building games, and building games is HARD. I like puzzles, I like a challenge, I like to learn, and I like playing games. Some of this carries over to building games, but I lacked other skills like any artistic skills haha. Plus it wasn’t about just making the game, it was making a good game worth playing.
The reality of the game industry is its very difficult to get a job as a game dev, and even harder to find one that is stable. A 60$ game today was 60$ decades ago, thus the industry created loot crates, and micro-transactions, to make up for the rising cost of making games, all with the same price point as before. Deadlines are strict, launches are scrutinized, games are more complex than ever. Power-creep applies to the building of games, and today its worse than ever.
I eventually gave up on the idea as the job prospects were just to difficult when other opportunities were abundant. I still like the idea of game development, but I was always more of a programmer than a game dev I wasn’t disappointing in giving up with game development.
Its up to you to determine if you want to throw caution to the wind and double down on this goal. Getting a game dev job isn’t easy, its really hard, but if you try hard enough you can get it, but the question you have to ask yourself is how hard are you willing to try?
This isn’t a “game-dev” only feeling, its very much an imposture syndrome related feeling. It does give you a sense that you need to still go out and learn stuff, but you will have this sort of feeling all the time, regardless of how much you already know.
Continue learning, and getting better is all you can do. The feeling is an indicator that you can go out and learn stuff, but don’t believe it as you must go out and learn it.
Go out and learn these concepts by integrating them into your own projects, and focus less on the game, and more on your code.
I don’t believe in paying for courses, as they don’t magically make you better. They will teach you some stuff, but who’s to say you couldn’t learn it on your own?
I just wanted to finalize by saying there is nothing stopping you from continue building games as a hobby. That way it can stay “fun” and enjoyable, but it doesn’t become work. Keeping it as a hobby allows you to focus your skills on what you want, how you want, but you pay the bills with another kind of job that is easier to get and more stable. Also if its a hobby you can try to monetize it, or just make it for fun, which removes the “how do I get people to pay for this” problem most games have
Thanks for the thorough reply at this!
That’s the word that I’m looking for. It’s been a few days since I’ve thought a lot about what I should do.
I did ask some people about game development jobs around and they’ve said the same response of saying it is hard to get into the industry since it’s very different ‘product’ (like if you would compare it to food, it isn’t a necessity). I hope that came up right tho if you know what I mean
And yeah, I might make games as a hobby some people had been telling me to do that instead too. Just needed an assurance of doing so.